As part of High Trees’ ongoing support of St. Martin’s Tenant’s and Resident’s Association (TRA) and their campaign on fixing issues with damp on the estate, we are pleased to share that the campaign has reached a major milestone.
Residents in the St Martin’s Estate have been living surrounded by mould and damp for the past six years. High Trees have been supporting residents affected by these living conditions to organise themselves and demand an independent environmental inspection. Both the resident’s and the TRA’s efforts were successful and the inspection was published towards the end of last year. It reported that the housing associations had a ‘victim blaming culture’ by suggesting it was the residents’ behaviour and lifestyle which caused the damp. The fall out of this report may result in up to £1.7m worth of repairs to be carried out over the next 10 years.
As a result of the independent environmental inspection, the housing associations are now facing legal action from Lambeth council. A BBC News article was published discussing the campaign which you can read here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-56243312. The press release leading to this article had input from High Trees around the campaign strategy to ensure that the residents remained at the centre of the story.
As a reaction to this legal action and to maintain progress on the campaign, St. Martin’s TRA hosted a public meeting with Cllr. Braithwaite, Deputy Leader of the Council (Housing and Homelessness) for Lambeth Council to update everyone on the damp campaign. The meeting aimed to outline the work the resident’s and the TRA had achieved so far and decide their next steps.
High Trees worked with residents prior to the meeting to practise their story telling and public speaking, to clearly highlight their campaign strategy. Alongside this High Trees helped the TRA with door knocking and phone banking to make connections, create awareness and build support for the campaign. In the public meeting, Cllr. Braithwaite praised residents’ efforts in organising around the issue and driving progress on the issue. High Trees will continue to work with St Martin’s Resident’s and the TRA as the campaign progresses.